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David Pietrusza 25, Coolidge 24, Harry Truman 21, Truman 20, America 12, Woodrow Wilson 12, Rothstein 11, United States 10, New York 10, Calvin Coolidge 10, Franklin Roosevelt 9, Wilson 8, Jack Kennedy 8, Massachusetts 8, Washington 8, Warren Harding 8, Oklahoma 7, Landis 7, Herbert Hoover 7, Boston 7,
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  CSPAN    Book TV In Depth    David Pietrusza  Education.   
   (2012) David Pietrusza. New.  

    July 1, 2012
    12:00 - 3:00pm EDT  

>> david pietrusza, what was it about the 1920s and 1948, 1960 election committee write books about them? >> it all starts one step at a time. the 1920 election, i have been playing around with factoids in just about presidents and presidential elections. and i looked at that one come
and i started calculating amount. 1961 or 1964 -- you had one president, lyndon johnson, you get kennedy, nixon in 1960, in 1968 we did nixon. you would get reagan. you might get three, usually get to. in 1920, you have six. >> six u.s. presidents? >> six in contention in one way or another. as several people have sent. yes, i know that. but if he is not dead, he is the nominee and the president of the united states. he sends his secretary of state to the convention to stampede the convention. about idea. >> he wanted the nomination. and of course, harding, coolidge, hoover, wins two democratic primaries come fdr is on the ticket a device -- as a
vice presidential candidate. you have this and so much else going on with the league of nations and every other thing. 1960, well, we move on from that to where you have three titanic personalities. we don't have six, but we have three of the biggest namebrand and presidential personalities ever. kennedy, nixon, johnson, so very different. so different in terms of dynastic or just personal, and something which, i think resonates so much with the folks and reading books today. 1948, that is a great cliffhanger. we love to listen to the experts. we'd love to get the weather reports. and they are always wrong and the polls are always wrong, and the experts are always wrong, and by god, we love it when they are smarter than they are. it turns out that we can look back in hindsight and see how long they were in 1948.
they saw that election night. the supreme court, we see that people are reminded of that truman thing with the supreme court health care nomination. we are not only the chicago tribune, fox news, but "the new york times", cnn -- they got the headline wrong really quick. >> david pietrusza, going back to 1920, herbert hoover 12 democratic primaries? two yes, new hampshire and michigan. he had some trouble deciding what he wants. he had been raised as a republican. there we not a lot of democrats in his hometown of west branch, iowa. the only one he could remember was the town drunk, which was very illustrative to him as to what the parties were about. he had been a progressive to tr he had been a member of the
wilson administration has domestic food administrator. he had gone with wilson to her side, think john maynard keynes said he was the only guy who came out with the reputation of his enhanced. and he is a great admirer of wilson. he could've easily flop to the democratic party that year, but he says, look, you have the democratic party, they are composed of three wings. southern reactionaries, big-city croaks, and agrarian nuts. and he says i don't want any rt of them and i think also he didn't want to be part of a bloodbath where he would be carrying the flag for a party which was going down in flames i hear. >> in your book, "1920: the year of the six presidents", published in 2007. you write republicans base an unprecedented problem in 1920. a logical candidate was dead. the democrats difficulty was
even worse. a living president who would knock it out of the way. >> that is woodrow wilson. he decides that you see the silent films of him. he looks almost like the character that they used to do of the bluenose that was in favor of prohibition. the mechanical guy. he looks like he's going to be a very reedy voice, listening to the recordings and you have a great baritone voice. that is what made him have a great reputation as speaker. he comes back as invalid, but he never tells anyone he's not running again. the premier candidate, the real front-runner is the former secretary of the treasury, william gibbs back at you, who had helped pu together the
federal reserve, the stock market crash at the beginning of world war i the war economy with the war. and the problem is, he is the boss' son-in-law. he is woodrow wilson's son-in-law. he didn't marry the boss' daughter, but he got the secretary of treasury -- he is the secretary of treasury. he is a big deal before that, but now he's family. and he can't make the move from us wilson gets out of the way, and wilson never gets out of the way. which blocks it for him and you have this deadlock at the convention between him and another cabinet member, mitchell palmer. >> he is the democratic patron? >> yes, on the democratic side, nobody particularly wants them, and it goes to james and cox of ohio who is sort of a dark horse
he kind of sneaks and when there's a deadlock. he really does not do well, cannot swim against the tide that year. >> what was woodrow wilson's reputation at the end of the second term? >> pretty awful on all ends of the political spectrum. certainly the democrats had not been in favor of him, but the progressives, people progressives, liberals, they had been turned against them, i think because of the repressiveness of the war. you take a look at the statement by eugene debs, the socialist party candidate for president that year. in several years before that, who is in the atlanta penitentiary for violation of the sedition and espionage acts. and he will say that woodrow wilson is alienated from the hearts of the american people at
that point. it is a very tragic figure. more than that, more than recoiling from the war, and this is a common theme in 1920 and in 1948. those books. anytime you have an administration which gets us into a war, fight a war, it may be successful, but the american people -- any people and the people will turn against it. 1920 with wilson. the republicans went into congress in 1946. lyndon johnson not being able to see himself in 68 with the bushes. this happens over and over again. 1945, it was a heckuva good war leader -- winston churchill. there was problem with that, but more than that, add one more gigantic thing to it. it is the economy. the economy is a mess.
you have the seattle general strike, you think of the world was about ready to blow up after the war. and the unemployment rate, the inflation rate, they are terrific. we would easily be satisfied with what is going on now rather than have that. >> in 1919 and 1920, was in a given or was it a general thought that whoever won the republican primary would win the presidency? >> yes, i think so. you would have to be dreaming to think of the as the year went on the democrats could pull it off. there is this massive, massive landslide. if it is not theodore roosevelt, the republican party splits wide open in 1912. that is how woodrow wilson gets in. woodrow wilson has 41 or 43% of the popular vote that year. i think he gets less of a percentage of the popular vote
in 1912 then williams jennings bryan does in getting killed in 19 way. or something at that. it is really a low turnout. the party healed itself in 1960, comes down close to winning. it is all very good thing, but the party comes together enough that charles evans hughes goes to bed thinking that he is the president-elect. and he is not. woodrow wilson, before that was putting together a scenario where an kc lostim he was going to resign and he was going to point to the secretary of state come in and the vice presidency, the vice president would quit and they could take over. republicans win the congressional races in 1918.
you don't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is warm. back to the first part of that statement, republicans face unprecedented problems in 1920, the logical candidate was dead, would tr have been the nominee if he had lived? >> absolutely. he was not only physically ill, and it is interesting that i think he makes a statement early on in his life that he's going to live that she's going to live life to the fullest until he is 62. and he dies about, you know, right on schedule. he had also been hurt very much by the death of his son quentin in world war i. he was an aviator on the western front. there is a book about tr and large and the men loved war. he was willing to die himself and it may have been the last
straw, which literally killed him at the end. his health really was bad. if he isn't, he wins. >> you write about herbert hoover in your book 1920. hoover was a premium, but he could not rescue them with the noble words of woodrowwilson, the energy of roosevelt, the amiability of a one harding or the grinning charm of a franklin roosevelt. >> yes. herbert hoover, until he becomes president of the united states, really has this remarkable career of achievement and despite his personal lack of charisma, it is the major story. he is the orphan boy in iowa the goes out to oregon to be with his uncle and his parents, he has a dime in his pocket. he starts out with a dime.
he goes to stanford, he continues on to gold mines of nevada or california. australia, rising up and up getting richer and richer indochina where he constructs being an engineer, a great engineer and construct the battlements, which saves the europeans and americans from the boxer rebellion. saving the americans stranded in europe when war breaks out. no one knows how to do it. he put together a private effort, got people out. he might've even got my great-grandmother out because that was one of the worst decisions of the family to go to europe. in 1914. he got those folks out. and he saved people after the war who are starving, saved people in germany, saved people in russia come in the middle east, probably saved 2 million people from starvation.
and he was a very energetic secretary of commerce under harding. and also coolidge after this election. but in terms of personality, dollar, pragmatic, one of the reasons why i think franklin roosevelt comes across like gangbusters in the depression with his fireside chats, is the fact he is following. after herbert hoover, you know, anybody could've sounded good. >> moving on to your book transport. published last year. your book "1948: harry truman's improbable victory and the year that transformed america." you write that victory has a thousand dollars. harry truman, and election day that year, he seemed outright repulsive. not the effects of 16 years of their rule for their debacle. they wanted him out and they
wanted him out now. >> yes, they did. we saw in the last presidential round of primaries that the republicans were everyone was saying you are the next reagan -- this guy is a reagan. there is not another reagan. and there wasn't another franklin roosevelt. harry truman sure as heck, to use that language, was not franklin roosevelt. franklin roosevelt could mke those words saying and harry truman -- he did not have that gravitas, the persona. as explained earlier. you were coming off a war. you are were coming off a war and people recoil from that with party in power. and he is the man who gets the blame pinned on him. you get that similar outbreak of
strikes in 1945, 1946. amazing. you get that similar outburst of inflation and there was the fear of things worse. they expected a full-blown depression after world war ii, as had occurred in world war i. everyone expected it. that fear -- the fear ges played into the political picture as well. the democrats go down in flames. what is interesting -- >> in the congressional elections? >> yes, people talk about how the republicans in congress were so much mo conservative than dewey going into that 48 election. they are actually more conservative than the democrats. all that is left, almost all that survives was the southerners. >> how did harry truman when the democratic primaries where the democratic convention in 1947 and 1948?
>> well, there are many primaries. there is an old saying that you can't beat somebody with nobody. okay? i think one of the things, having a president for 12 years, franklin roosevelt is -- it kind of the stories your bench. he was the big man. there wasn't this array of towering figures in the democratic party who could replace him. that is one of the reasons why harry truman,, who had been from one part of his career, until he does this magnificent investigation of the war industries during world war ii -- is basically a nonentity. he is not anything, not in any great shape. at that point he is elevated and also, as the experts say, he is the one who does the ticket the least amount of harm in 1944. he goes on because the guy who
is the vice president, henry wallace is the guy who can do the tickets the most amount of harm. the guys behind in the backroom go to franklin roosevelt and say he can cost you a million votes. if he says i got up i happened by half again, and if you are in the right state, i have a problem. >> did henry wallace run for president in 1940? >> he certainly did. it is almost like there is this grudge match, this personal grudge match, and ideological grudge match between the wallace wing and the mainstream wing of the democratic party. wallace had to jump for the vice presidency. when truman takes it over, --
roosevelt had put them in the cabinet. it puts him at odds with the truman foreign policy. and truman fired him. any human being, any human being would be upset. wallace is upset, he falls into the hands of the communist party of the united states, which runs against truman, basically not to win the election, but to punish him. >> what role did dwight eisenhower played in the 1948 election? >> dwight eisenhower is, you know, you see the movie white christmas with danny kaye and bing crosby, everyone loves the general. everyone loved dwight eisenhower.
they didn't know he was a republican or democrat, liberal, conservative. but they knew he was a general and he knew he could win. the republicans wanted to draft him first, now is and that was a grassroots movement. and he turned that down early in the year and the republicans go off on their own. the leadership -- they want to put their own people and whether it is dewey or taft. the democrats, however, the leadership just before it the democratic convention, the week before the convention, there is a cabal of those cra quilt of democrats. southern segregation-- big-city bosses like boss haze of jersey or jake harvey of chicago, liberals like hubert humphrey, members of the roosevelt family. they all said that we won't
bite. i cause back again. there is another explanation of why truman pulled this off, even though everyone is so wary of him. i can't repeat his words, but when he hears the words of the truman or eisenhower collapsing before the convention, he says, well, you tell those people that any link who sits behind his desk can get renominated. that is a large part of it. it is very hard to dump a sitting president in the nominating process. >> welcome to book tv's monthly "in depth" program. this is where we have an author on and we talk about his or her body work. this month, it is historian david pietrusza. mr. david pietrusza began writing about baseball. in fact from his first book was minor merkle's come a legend and
loare of minor league baseball. that came out in 1995. lights on, the wild century long saga of baseball in 1997. his third book was judge and jury, the life and times of judge kennesaw and the life, times and murder of the criminal genius who fixed the 1919 world series. that came out in 2003. the history of america's inception in baseball, and presidential history from there, "1920: the year of the six presidents", that came out in 2007. "1960: lbj vs. jfk vs. nixon: the epic campaign that forged three presidencies", and that came out in 2008. finally, his most recent book, "1948: harry truman's improbable victory and the year that transformed america."
he is our guest for the next 2.5 hours and we are going to put the phone lines on the screen. if you'd like to dial in and talk some presidential or baseball history with david pietrusza. you can also send an e-mail to or our twitter handle is @booktv. david pietrusza, how did you get from writing about baseball to presidents? >> i have been trained to be a historian. actually, that was my goal when i was a little kid. would you want to be when you grow up? a historian. after a while, we go news for that answer and we got 2 degrees in history.
basically, american history for the university of albany, which they call it now, upstate new york. then i went off to -- because history is a very hard thing to make a living and must you are teaching. i went off to make a living, actually signing off his face. yes. i kept dabbling in writing during radio and this or that. then became more and more active. i was elected in city council in new york. after about a year i said well, that is enough. i got off that, i really don't want to know the term. no second term. i'm going to have a lot of time left in my life. would i want to do? i wanted to baseball. so baseball s a detour. but it got me writing again, it taught me some very valuable lessons. how to write. it was sort of like my undergraduate degree again to
try and go back into writing. standard history, if you you'd call it. nonbaseball, nonsports history. and there were two transition books. the kennesaw mountain book, which was judge landis and 25 years of baseball. this book which i had done had concentrated a lot. we got into a progressive era, we got into the sedition trials of world war i. we got into the antitrust cases. rossing was a similar book. people say oh, you wanted to write about the 1919 world series. no. no. what i wanted to do at that point was to write a book about
new york city in the 1920s. but i didn't know to take organized crime or culture or immigration. did i take politics? and i found out that rothstein was involved in evething. from there, we ran onto 1920. in a way, a lot of it is another baseball analogy like ray hobbs. i was away from the game. away from game from long time, but then i came back into the game of history. >> we should also mention that david pietrusza is the co-author of a book on ted williams. and recently edited "silent cal's almanack". the homespun wisdom of calvin coolidge. who is arnold rothstein? >> he was the father of modern
organized crime. he is again land figure, he is a monster figure. but he is not one of those these them and those guys. he doesn't have a scar across his cheek. he doesn't have brass knuckles or commanding as part of his main business an army of thugs. although he will employ the muscle guys to collect debts and such. but he is, as one of his earlier biographies called him, the big bankroll. and he is a gambler when gambling is still very big and very fashionable and semi- legal in new york. and he moves into so many things from there is this big bankroll, where he is putting together the money for rum running and bootlegging, and financing both sides of organized labor disputes, even financing it at
one point, the folks from the communist party. i guess the shipment of cash had not come in from moscow that month. he is lending money to them. lending money to build broadway theaters and put broadway shows on. and financing the modern drug trade. so that he is involved in all of these things, not to mention fixing the 1919 world series, fixing a few very high stakes horse races where he could win $300,000 or lose $300,000 on horse racer karting. and he is involved -- this is also very political, because you see how all of these things are tied into the teens and 20s. >> did he ever go to jail? >> no. he fixes the world series, even when he shoots three cops. the reason he shoots three cops
is because the big bankroll had the rob at one time, and sometimes after that. they are having the oldest established permanent floating poker game in a hotel. some guys come bounding in he had a gun, he shoots three times, and he shoots weddings, maracas but doesn't hurt them, but literally shoots three cops through the door. you'd think one would go to jail for this. cops don't like that. even if you mistakenly shoot them. in the course of the illegal activity. but he has enough clout to get away with that. not be indicted, not how his fiscal permit yet, and they make a big stink of it, he is thrown off a force for years. >> was he a known figure in american culture at that point in his life? >> well, we see in the great
gatsby a character named maye will shine through his story. he supposedly models nathan detroit on it. this is a movie based on his death, down in 1934. which is starring spencer tracy, it would seem it would go against taxing. murray golden was enough. he is well-known to many interesting thing about when he dies his you'd think the headlines would say, arnold rothstein, shot. and the dislike, none of that. that is what way, way, way down if at all in the story, because he is so much involved with everything else. kaj: >> before we go to the call, david pietrusza, how contested
was the 1960 democratic primary? >> that is interesting because it is still so very different from the process today. when you say primary, it is interesting, because we should bey. when you say primary, it is interesting, because we should be talking primaries. but in 1960,e are talking primaries roughly plural, they're two of them. two of consequence, zero consequence for the republicans. but the democratic primaries involve, or the wisconsin primaries, hubert humphrey versus john f. kennedy in the west virginia primary, same two contenders, and it is almost like a stalking horse. he's kind of a stalking horse for lyndon johnson. >> what does that mean? >> and fellow who is kind of, you know, saying he is operating on his own, but really at the behest of someone else. hopefully he had wanted on his own to be president. obviously, but lyndon johnson
wanted it even more. because lyndon johnson once power more than anyone ever. the lyndon johnson always wants to do it in an indirect way that is back in the cloak room sort of way, and he's going to get the nomination, that's how he go and get it. it is not enter any primaries. he enters the democrat race like a week before the convention convenes in los angeles. you know, he almost pulls back. he almost pulls it off. jack kennedy is not nominated until, what is the? until they call the roll on wyoming. >> now, there is no state that begins with z. those two primaries, jack kennedy's father doesn't want him to enter wisconsin, he
thinks it is dangerous. but that is a good pick for him because it is the most heavily catholic state in the midwest. he has a leg up there. hubert humphrey has a leg up because he comes from next door in minnesota. he does a little better at the polls when they get it wrong. they get it wrong. and humphrey exceeds expectations in the delegates. he goes on to west virginia and the polls, which have been up for jack kennedy before wisconsin, i guess before the folks there realized that he was a catholic, they take a downturn. kennedy then really perfects -- perfects his style going for the people. and i think that the poverty of the people in west virginia, kind of changes them because it is just terrible and awful they are. and i think it opens his eyes to some things, which he had been shielded from, even as a senator from massachusetts. >> we wanted to give you a taste of what david writes about, and
now it is your turn if you have questions for them. we will begin with joel in davidson, north carolina. >> caller: nice to hear from mr. david pietrusza. my question is, what are the obstacles to unifying the major leagues by resolving the designated hitter rule? >> guest: to unify the major leagues? i think not. i would not put past but sealy. but sealy really has -- he had no respect for the traditions of the game. what separates the game. the whole interleague play thing. he gave police their character. which enabled a baseball fan to know who is in the team. now you have to study so many
teams that it is almost like a full-time occupation. but whether it will happen again, if thelord of baseball decides it is profitable for them to do that, they willdo whatever is necessary. because it is a very much corporate profit and loss. always has been. people talk about the game, some golden era when people don't care about the letter -- letter suite, utopia, neverland, etc. >> host: you on booktv on c-span 2. >> caller: i just want to say to the author, i really appreciate you this morning because everything you said about sports in character and respect, when you look at the data and different subjects, and you have
c-span and the rest of the media, and you take it on tv and you interview the author, information that the book and author wrote is so unrealistic, the interview does not challenge the author on the material that they are writing, we don't get the opportunity to have the information they put out, as americans, we are destroying which are intermediate in this manner. >> host: is there anything you'd like to respond to, david pietrusza? >> a man. >> host: and we will move on.
>> caller: is had a question about the 1948 election. my question is, how can the polls be so wrong in that election. a lot of experts who should have known -- how did it happen, do they? >> the polls were interesting that year. because truman is up-and-down roller coaster. basically, his whole tenure in the white house come actually his whole political career, he is up-and-down his whole time. he loses his second race for the local office in jackson county, missouri. he comes back and he is always in trouble and then he gets out of it. and i think that is one of the things that gives him the strength to go on. but the polls, he is down at the beginning of the year. and he starts coming back out. he also starts coming back up and support within the democratic party. the people within the democratic party had been opposed to him for a long time, and he was sort
of starting and people were noticing it, tat he was first solidified by that support. they also saw, which happens with every third-party candidacy, people thought he was a dead duck or gone goose, as was said at the national convention because the democratic party was split not just two ways in the general election, but three ways. that had not happened since 1860. that was not only a disaster for the civil war in the democratic party, there was a civil war novel country did in 1940, you have trouble, but he starts coming up, coming up, he's going around people, ignoring the data -- they ignore the data that these huge crowds drawn, and he is not trying crowds as well -- dewey is not drawing the crowds. the polls -- the roper organization stops pulling a month before and they were not going to waste your time, our money, it is all set.
one of the polls, i think the gallup poll, a week before, it is within five percentage points. you take five percentage points in the margin of error, which could be 3% or so, many take the fallout of those third-party candidacies, which always come as you get closer to the election day, like the snows of winter and spring. and they do, not as one of the things which helps him, carried him carry him over the finish line, and it ignoring the sheer blandness of the dewey campaign. >> did thomas do we respond to some of the populist attacks that hairy truman was left with in the last month or so campaign? >> he wanted to. he wanted to but his advisers said no, don't get in the gutter with that guy. you're going to be president,
stay away from these issues. even at the beginning of the campaign, foreign policy gets taken off the table. do he is counseled to do this by the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee. he says were all going to have to work together. don't muddy up the waters. >> arthur vanderburg is a republican. >> he is the one who started the bipartisan foreign-policy thing, which we have for a while until vietnam. and we haven't had, pretty much cents. but then truman would launch the attacks about big business and even where fascists were, really over-the-top stuff. even truman, he would look back and sad, i said that -- that is sheer demagoguery. some of his advisers even recoil from the stuff he was throwing at him. but the advisers in the republican party, neighbors into
his home around putnam county, new york, very well-to-do areas, and his wife are saying, hold back, hold back, hold back, and that is exactly what he does. that is when the mistakes he makes. >> host: what was the vinson mission -- vinson mission. >> guest: the vinson mission. i'm thinking of john carter vincent. the vinson mission is where truman gets this idea and say oh, he's a warmonger, he wants peace, truman get the idea to say we are back with the chief justice again. the chief justice and him on a
mission to moscow to negotiate the limitations with weapons and such. and people say, my gosh, this is a terrible idea, this is a politicization of the supreme court, particularly since it is coming out of nowhere. absolutely nowhere. a month before the election. and that is a bad idea and, again, what is the dewey reaction? nothing. >> host: did he resign? >> he did not resign, but he came close. that is about one of those things, where one of the key decisions that we talked about, how america -- what changes america and the issues which are in the back story of this
campaign. that regards the formation of the state of israel. there have been a lot of back and forth between the united states and great britain, as to how much immigration to israel and -- israel being called houston -- the relations between our two countries were frayed. the british leave because they are broke. no commie talk about them being broke, britain really is broke. they get out, in 1948, the state of israel is proclaimed, and truman is immediately jumping within the first minute to recognize israel. there are decisions about what statements we are going to make in regard to pressuring britain and what we are going to allow coming in. the state department is urging
caution. they are saying look at the big geopolitical picture. look at oil, okay? look at the fact of this 400 million or however many million or people there are -- look it up before you are looking at israel and palestine per se. marshall is supportive of that view. he darn near resigns from the secretary of state that spring. he is such a well-respected figure, but that might have been what caused what remained of the administration at that point to crash. maybe it could have cost him the nomination. >> host: did his opposition to that decision, did that become public. >> guest: did not become public until afterwards. eventually, what caused marshall to drawback was his military training. where he said, it is not for me to quit because a fellow who is
entrusted, and empowered with the authority to issue an order orders it. >> host: is it fair to compare that to let say, if colin powell had resigned prior to the iraq war because of this issue? >> guest: it is an interesting question. you have the same military background. so much happens in hindsight. particularly with iraq and on the unintended consequences. you know, we might be very wise to look at and think about the consequences for everything before we go ahead with it. again, both of them probably wrestled with this decision, both of them made the decision to stay on. >> host: e-mail from eric kohlberg, i would like to hear your opinion on the controversial issue of truman's decision to drop the bomb on japan. the record shows that solution on trumansburg, except when he was in the company of secretary of state james burns.
i believe that burns had more reason than truman to use the bomb is the trump card to fight the soviets. why burns more than truman, because burns had championed fdr's guilt agreement. >> guest: i am not familiar with byrne's burns' influence on him. i will speak about the decision to use the bomb. at the time, there is no question about it. i do not think it was that great of a decision. when you think about what the losses have been in the pacific, and they dug in, huber shima, okinawa, those areas were not even part of japan formally until it figures before that.
america looked forward to that. there was no love lost between america and japan. now we are hearing more and more as time goes on, really the extent of antipathy with the japanese, there were massacres on our side as well. , i think there was more hostility of the american people to people to the japanese in the words of the german forces. there is not as part of a decision as we think of it today. i think he was more natural, and i also think it was the right decision and i think that the fact that truman needs to drop the first bomb is driven home by the fact that he needs to drop the second bomb. >> host: this tweet from daniel. what we are would the positions with regard to women's suffrage in voting rights during the 1920 elections, in the 19th
amendment. how did that play out in the 1920 elections? >> guest: that is a wonderful question. and it illustrates the point i would like to make about the 1920 elections. if you look for a straight line where people are on one side forever of republican and democrat and a liberal, conservative, and you keep looking and everyone is going to -- it's all going to be nice and neat 100 years ago were a hundred years forward. well, it isn't. in the women's suffrage thing is a very good example of that. we see that the struggle for women's suffrage is largely a republican organization. a tape a look at the votes in the congress it is sent off to the states for ratification. you look at the state
legislatures, they are overwhelmingly republican. and so it comes down to the wire. some women were going to vote for the president no matter what that amendment that are passed in 1920. but what happens is it comes down, because the legislatures are not always in session. and it comes down to tennessee. the governor of tennessee promised during the primary, if you vote for me, i will call the legislature back and we will reconsider this amendment. and oddly enough, he kept his promise. he calls legislature back, some folks who hadn't promised to support in the house, all of a sudden say, no, we take it back. it goes to the senate first in tennessee. they go for it, it comes back to the house. the speaker of the house who had previously been in favor, as i said, wait until you have all the votes wind up to defeat it.
and it comes down to a roll call. it comes down to where it is going to be defeated by one or two votes. there's a switch and another switch. a republican legislature, from east tennessee -- the traditional republican area of the state. a young fellow, his first term, he had been wearing the identification -- a red rose and yellow rose, whether you were for or against. he had been against. but he stands up and he says something, and there is a sound to people. all of a sudden, we realize what he has done. that he is deciding as the vote, everything holds for the rest, and all hell breaks loose in a room. then he pulls out an envelope and a letter and he says this was a letter i received from my
mother. some common to write. do right by me and all the women of america. it was a mother's letter to her son but gave women the right to vote nationwide. and then they chased him into the attic. >> host: next call for david pietrusza comes from duty in wausau, wisconsin. >> caller: last chance -- hi there. >> host: you are on the air. >> caller: okay. thank you. yes, david, so nice to speak with you. you writing about this wonderful period of my childhood, my father was the mvp in 1947 and i
am a daughter of the boston braves player who is a star in 1948. >> guest: what kept me writing about baseball? >> caller: how did you get started to write about the canadian-american. oh, you mean that. >> guest: that is because that is where i was from. i was actually my first book. that started out to be a newspaper article or a magazine article for some sort of journal. and i got carried away. but what that book, aside from giving me my start in realizing i could actually put out a book, it taught me a few things. at some point i thought it would have to self publish it. and i thought, you know, if i have to pay for every word from his every word wonderful and the answer was no, not if i have to pay for it i edited 25% of the
book out. that was a valuable lesson for me. i also realized in writing that, i got to talk to a lot of old-time ballplayers and people who were involved in the administration and the fans. i realized i learned, and my father had told me about the games, my mother had told me about the games. i had went to the games before i was born, as a matter of fact. how much these things meant to the people in small communities, and many decades afterwards. and we look at certain historical markers and certain historical, you know, we look at a gristmill from 1760 and we get all excited about it with historians or something, but there so many sources of history in these localities. regarding what really touched the masses of people on adaily
or nightly basis, whether it is baseball or the local culture, whether it is the movie theaters that they went to war the vaudeville houses, and these things are often overlooked by historians and cultural history, i think it speaks a lot. it tells you how people live and what they thought was important. >> host: this e-mail, and this is from evelyn in new york city. david was president of the society for american baseball research when he told me that grace coolidge talked about -- and i have been intrigued with her according to encyclopedia britannica. john calvin coolidge pervade any speaking on her part, but school for the depth in washington dc -
my husband, known as silent cal, has her baby from speaking. she gave her speech and sign and return my question is what kind of relationship that the coolidge's have with judge landis. >> guest: you are right. i did not know that story. we are going to learn something today. the relationship that coolidge had with judge landis was actually, i don't know what coolidge thought of windows, but i do know that windows could not stand coolidge and maybe it was because of his origin is a progressive republican and he thought coolidge was not sufficiently progressing as president. it might've been a clash of styles because windows was so flamboyant and coolidge certainly wasn't. there was another factor, and
that coolidge became president and judge landis's best friend, governor frank o'bannon of illinois, had been one of the prime contenders of the 1920s and the convention. he did not get the presidency. and in fact, logan was so teed off at the whole process that he turned down the vice presidency in the 1924 convention, which was rather unusual. he sent a telegram saying he didn't want it. coolish and -- coolidge and landis -- there you go. >> host: was she popular? >> guest: she was very popular, very fashionable. an attractive woman. she was charming. she had all the time the calvin did not.
he could be very rough with her. that was one of the things that i will say, which is not wonderful about him. if you look at some of the things he said to his family, and they are not magnificent. she was amazingly popular as a first lady. >> host: and we have an e-mail that says coolidge presided over some economic prosperity. why has he not been more championed? >> guest: i think of it as a function of the -- well, okay. first off, somebody said a long time ago, and i read it a long time ago. but the happiest days of mankind are written on the blank pages of history. hence, if you haven't managed to get us into a war or perhaps some greek has to be going on,
if you merely make things work, there is a good chance that you will just be forgotten. you know, the good that men do is buried within their bones. but there is also a tng were the new deal historian, people who really love franklin roosevelt dominated the writing of 20th century american history for very long period of time. part of that is not only holding up franklin roosevelt and the new deal, but is saying look at what they followed. look at hoover and harding and coolidge, and all this. they did nothing. i think there is a good part of that, and also, we look at is that he just missed being on sound film.
we go to occur newsreels and all this, and if there is silence, like silent cal, we don't pay attention to these characters. >> host: why was he chosen as vice president? >> guest: that is a consequence of the boston police strike in 1990. the boston police were really not well paid. they all decide to go on strike. the strike vote is over whelming oddly enough, there is some chaos, there is some looting. >> host: he is governor of massachusetts? >> guest: he is the governor of massachusetts. his predecessor had appointed the boston police commissioner. he was in a may oral opinion or prerequisite. he calls up the national guard and the mayor had illegally called him out, orders restoration, but it is really not the strike itself that
catches the public imagination, but the man on the strike force -- he said no, there is no where to strike against public safety anywhere or anytime and anyplace. this captures the public's imagination. in 1920, at the convention, which is supposedly the smoke-filled room, the boss ridden convention which gives us warren harding, it is a stampede from the floor with irvine when wright, who is a mildly progressive but not antiwar he is supposed to be the nominee. the chair of the convention thinks that a guy in was because -- i nominated a great leader
for massachusetts, but now another great massachusetts leader, governor calvin coolidge. he barely says more than that, and the convention goes wild for it is almost figuratively and literally stampede and they put coolidge on the ticket and in the press box, they all say, oh, oh one karting is a dead man. coolish will be president before that term is up. >> host: you're watching c-span 2. this is our monthly "in depth" program. our guest is david pietrusza. he has written books about 19201948 and 1960 elections, as well as a book about arnold rothstein and several books on baseball. the numbers are on the screen. the next call comes from xenophobia, mississippi.
>> caller: good afternoon, thank you for taking my call. i have a question about hebrews, in the hall of fame, will it ever happen. how is instant replay going to take that up. >> guest: the rose question is one i have been taking him it for quite a while, but i don't know about the instant replay. it is different in a couple of ways. when i used to edit baseball, and we would do these, you know, not we, but people markum who is the master statistician. he would do the rankings of the great ballplayers. the great ones. he said when asked if he was right, he said he wasn't really dead. he played so long, being carried to get that record. it knocked his numbers down.
his record is suspect. somewhat suspect. the question of the integrity and the integrity of the game. if you don't like pete rose, the worst thing you can do to him is to put him in the hall of fame. because when you are the most famous person not in the hall of fame, and now there's going to be a few of these steroid fellows who may jump ahead of him. but once you put someone in the hall of fame, there used to be great discussions about ralph kiner and others in the hall of fame. once they went in, people stopped talking about them. so if you want to put hugos in history, make a bronze plaque out of him, put them on the wall in cooperstown, and we can go on to discussing something else. >> host: how often has baseball intersected with congress and
investigation. pete rose, roger clemens was just on trial. the antitrust issue. >> guest: that is held judge landis comes into the picture. judge landis is given -- there's a federal federally good start during the time of world war i. they say, hey, these baseball guys -- antitrust, okay? were trying to break us. and they have addressed. and they send the case to federal court they go out of business, and they try to take
the crumbs. one of the crumbs of the ballpark in chicago. it goes back at least that far. every time there is an expansion, some of the pressure for expansion was because of congressional investigations. as to what is going on. the first round of it. and we think sometimes, i'll use the expression -- the quote from mickey mantle, when mantle was testifying about something before congress in the early 1950s. in single goes on and on and he is talking sideways and upside down and nobody knows how to follow him. and then they turned mickey mantle and say, mickey mantle, your comment? >> and he says i agree with everything that he just said. except that i have to say that. i don't know what i'm talking
about. >> host: bay city, michigan. please go ahead for your question for david pietrusza. >> caller: hello, sir. i wanted your opinion on a play. i think it is one of the most historical plays in baseball. 1908, the regular-season game between the new york baseball giants and the cubs. fred merkel was involved. i wanted to go through the whole detail, what is your opinion? you remember that? >> guest: it has been a wild and baseball. you are talking about the fred merkel blunder. in terms of detail, i'm going to have to pass on it on this episode. >> host: when was baseball is popular in 1908 and 1919. >> guest: it was bigger. there is a book that came out about 25 or 30 years ago just on the 1908 series.
that was the cubs versus the giants. i think he was the last game of the season. one of those things where somebody forgets this and something of that nature. it was big remarkably early on. it starts is becoming -- the civil war. wars have, you know, we talk about one of the things that world war i does. it creates that great migration of blacks to the north. why? because you cut off immigration from europe. the cheap labor supply from europe is cut off. now, all of a sudden, the blacks can move up and take these jobs. and in some cases, they take jobs and that is what you get -- that is why you get really crazy
race riots. east st. louis and chicago, chicago is about different things. but where white people are incensed because of black people taking their jobs. anyway, you get these things were the civil war, the civil war brings everyone together and where baseball was centered in massachusetts and new york, very primitive examples of the game. it spreads to all these army camps, and that is what really sets it off. >> host: caroline wilkins e-mails to david pietsza, kenny speak about the role the black vote played in truman's 48 victory? >> guest: yes. early on, it is a factor. the democratic party insiders prepare documents for truman, like what he has to do to win. one of the factors, and there
are some factors that we don't think about a lot, like the west, the farmers, labor unions, but also blacks, of course, and truman has -- they are fighting a war on two fronts as they go into the campaign regarding the black vote. one is the emergence of henry wallace. wallace has been foursquare against seegation. really going much further than the democratic party is willing to go. fdr provided public relief jobs and such for blacks, as he did for whites, during the great depression. herbert hoover really helped turn him off, i will say. which is another stor.
but truman, truman is looking at an early poll which shows 90% of the blacks are favoring wallace. 90%. he also is facing a problem on the republican front, where tom dewey has a very liberal, pro-, civil rights antidiscrimination record in new york. the first antidiscrimination law in the country is that when i zack and new york advance determination. yesterday something. one of the things he does is put forward a mission to look into civil rights issues. he looks into a wide range of things. that leaves the south to revolt. that is something we haven't
really talked about too much. the dixiecrat revolt. the document which i talked about earlier, which was in the candace -- campaign strategy -- the deep south wasn't prepared to take anything on this issue. that is why trumaneventually integrates the armed forces of the united states. which is tied in. the hip bone is connected to the shin bone and whatever. the cold war is connecting to civil rights activities of harry truman that year. that is because they're going to have a peace contract, and the blacks that put up with the draft, a segregated army in world war ii, they were going to put up with it again. there are 30% of blacks who are not going to register and it was going to be a massive march on washington led by philip ran off
in the middle of the election. harry truman, all of a sudden, he said i'm going to integrate the armed forces. on the other side. >> host: david stokes e-mails how big of a factor was henry wallace in 1948? he had been a heartbeat away from the presidency. by 1948, was he more of a pariah in serious political? >> guest: increasingly so and within the democratic political spectrum. truman decided, except he really doesn't address the wallet undreamt contract was issued very often. when he does, that she actually hammers them. he hammers them.
he says the rockies are a mighty fine place. if he doesn't like it, he can go to soviet russia. but he has maybe 10% of the vote. 10% of the whole vote at the beginning of the year. that place down to 1.2%, and he never -- he never goes beyond a very small niche of even the democratic party, and we think of the dixiecrat is being a regional threat for truman. the wallace thing, almost all their votes, not almost all, but disproportionate amounts, come out of new york state and come out of los angeles in that area. they also could come out of illinois, but the ballot access is so important. henry wallace never makes the ballot in illinois. >> host: did strom thurmond when electoral votes in 1938.
>> guest: yes, he had a bit more of a strategy where the folks who have brought this up. he's a late comer to the game. he just sort of meanders in. he shows up, this is the danger of showing up to meetings. don't sh up, you may have to be chairman of guam is. so at the beginning of the year, truman is putting up these proposals for civil rights. there are meetings called. there is an entity out of the field and right, very much segregationist. the strategy, i think it was -- someone who had a job in washington with the library of congress. the control of the curncy or something, they write book about the electoral college. you can bring these guys in line if you basically hijacked the mechanism of the electoral vote in your state. and thrown into the electoral
college. they might have turned that off, except for tom dewey did not carry out his part about giving up electoral votes. but here's where the strategy was flawed. if you look at the map for the previous election, harry truman -- actually, print and roosevelt had not even one single electoral vote from the solid south to win any of those four terms. so harry truman has a margin despair. ..
>> caller: i've heard some conflicting stories about how that happened. for example, i heard that when they dropped wallace, the party, powerful people asked roosevelt who he wanted. he wanted his vice president douglas, but he was too liberal. they didn't know who to pick, so they picked jimmy burns. and jimmy burns asked harry truman no give him his nominating speech. and at the last minute, they changed their mind and made harry truman the vice presidential candidate. and jimmy burns said to tell harry truman he had to get off the stand so he could make a speech for him. is this a true story? >> guest: you've, basically, got that right. i mean, william o. douglas was not vice president, of course. he was on the supreme court
then, and there was -- he was a sharp fellow, one the sharper new dealers. still a young guy, very liberal. truman had put out a memo that, or a little handwritten note, i think, that either truman or douglas had, would be acceptable to him. and the myth was for a long time and it appears to be not true that the folks in charge of this behind-the-scenes stuff switched the words and put truman first ahead of douglas. but douglas was a problem because he was untested, he had never run for political office and never would in his entire life. he was a little too liberal probably for the ticket. jimmy burns had a bunch of problems. burns had been a senator, a governor, he was kind of like the war coordinator for the new deal. people called him the assistant president. he was a talented guy, but he was from south carolina, he was
too segregationist for the blacks in the north, he was -- he had an anti-labor union record which was really the killer for him. and also he was a lapsed catholic. so the catholics weren't going to be crazy about him, and probably the vociferous anti-catholics were probably still wondering whether, which team he was playing for. so he didn't make the trip. that is the election where the phrase "clear it with sidney" comes from. head of the first big pac, the cio pac. and that was a big labor union thing. and dewey kind of got up and vociferous about that. he kind of got alive and was saying that truman -- or, roosevelt was turning over the country to hillman and the
communists and all that and making a big fuss about that issue. but he got blowback on that from his advisers, and that's one reason why he never touched, like, the communist or extreme left-wing issue in 1948. he had a million excuses for not touching any issues in 1948. >> host: bob in st. george, utah, thanks for holding. you're on with david we tuesday ya on booktv. >> caller: i'm born in 1935, so i transition from my war heroes, soldiers and sailors to baseball. [laughter] but my question was about harry truman. in all that i've read, how much was he aware -- he and the people around him and the military people -- as to the destruction that would be caused by this atom bomb?
most especially the terrible radiation effects that came after? were they really aware of this, of this awesome power of this, that's my question. >> guest: i'm not entirely sure how much they knew. i suspect they did not know a great amount, although the -- if you listen to the reminisces of the -- reminiscences of the surviving, i think there's only one surviving member of those crews, and the orders that they were given, that they were given by the people who actually knew the nuts and bolts of this operation were to drop that thing and get the hell away as soon as possible. whether it was from a fear of radiation or whether it was from a fear of just being incinerated by the heat like in washington today or just the force of the blast. t they were told to get out.
in terms of a fear of radiation, however, back then consider, you know, you're born in 1935, so you may remember this, maybe you weren't a kid then, but i remember in the postwar era we would go into the shoe stores, and they wld x-ray our feet. they would x-ray our feet for those buster brown shoes to make sure we had the exact right-fitting shoe. so we would go to a shoe store and get x-rays. i would submit that we were not fully cognizant of the dangers of radiation even in the 1950s. >> host: next call for david prize ya comes from pensacola, florida i'd never heard that before. >> guest: you can look it up. >> host: i believe you. go ahead. >> caller: good afternoon.
i just wondered if you could give any credibility to a story about harry truman's train trip in 1948 when he was campaigning. he got as far as oklahoma, and he ran out of money. and the governor, governor roy turner, bailed him out. but is there any truth to that, and could you comment on it, please? >> guest: yes. he did run out of money. and when he started his campaign, democrats traditionally start their campaign at cadillac square, i think n detroit, labor day. and, you know, at the start of the campaign, well, of course, it was a government-provided train. but, you know, paying for everything else they really were terribly short of money. at the end of the campaign, the numbers, the numbers flip, and you take a look at the receipts of the campaigns. the democrats actually take in more but that's like a lot of checks that come in, you know, after the game is won. it's like, oh, i'm your friend, i'm your friend. but, yes, they had terrible,
terrible problems in putting together a campaign. one of the other things where they were short of money on was -- and they did, you know, catch as catch can -- this is the year that the television starts. only, basically, on the east coast and a few other areas like, you know, from boston maybe down to washington, and you flip out to cleveland or somewhere. limited networks. but what is still a big factor because the movies ain't yet died is the newsreels. and dewey puts together a documentary, tom dewey, next president of the united states, unity, efficiency, the man for the job, working with congress, blah, blah, blah. and dewey -- the truman people either forget and/or don't have the money to put something together. but what they do have is the presence of mind to go to the people in the film industry and say, you know, no matter who's
president of the united states, boys and girls, there's a good chance we're going to control the senate next year. we can investigate you. we can investigate you, and this was the time when they were breaking, finally breaking up the film industry. this had been going on for a very long time because it was a vertical monopoly. they owned the theaters, they owned the product they were selling, the films, they made the films. and this is one of the things that causes the film industry to collapse. so they go to that, and the film industry says, okay, we'll do what you say, and we'll make a film for free. and they make up a film which is made up of shreds and patches of footage they have of truman. and it has a documentary quality of reality to it. has him, you know, with this little crippled girl from the march of dimes or something in action and the dewey thing looks so slick, and the truman thing looks like cinema very today
because it's done on the cheap. and it is ten times more effective than the dewey film because they had no money. >> host: there's also a comic book that's put out -- >> guest: yes, yes. malcolm ader. and ader is, you know, this was the age of comic books, you know? and they were very controversial. congress would have hearings that they were corrupting all the couth and everything like that -- all the youth and everything like that. and little did they know what was to come and everywhere else. but the comic books, ader goes to the republicans, and the republicans say we're republicans, we don't do comic books, mr. ader. but the democrats, they're democrats. they're fun guys, and they do comic books. and he can print the things up for, like, a penny or two apiece, i mean, really roll them out. and he does the life of harry truman, you know? he's on the front lines with the artillery and every other damn thing. but they leave off the corrupt machine he was in in kansas
city. >> host: and also you write in 1948 with regard to thetrain trip about thomas dewey taking his train trips, but not getting off the train to greet the -- >> guest: yeah, yeah. truman has, you know, two whistle stops tours for truman. and it's always good to try your act out on the road. so truman tries his act out in the spring and goes around, and the first part of his trip he makes all kinds of mistakes. he's kind of like joe s. biden, quite frankly. he's pretty, pretty rough out there. but coming back he gets a little better, and he's doing it for real and very well in the fall which is when it counts. but dewey, dewey goes into -- now, he, he stops in oklahoma. the fellow was mentioning oklahoma. dewey makes about seven or eight stops or ten stops in oklahoma. his wife is from oklahoma. but oklahoma, it's oklahoma. ohio is always the game then and
now. truman makes all these stops in ohio, dewey makes, like, two. and when he does, they've got a crowd of people outside waiting for him to come out on the train, say hello to them, say a few words, he won't come out. worse, he has a rally with the republican leadership of the state, robert a. taft, who had beaten him for nomination, mr. republican. they fought the leader of the republicans in the senate. he's on the stage with him, he snubs him. he won't even say hello to him. and taft is just, like, i don't know why that man hates me so. but it was his personal style which is, which was a big problem. the man was a real icicle. as they said, you really had to know him to dislike him. >> host: burbank, california. roger, please, go ahead with your question for david pietrusza. >> caller: thank you. i'm just wondering if martin rothstein who --
[inaudible] kennedy in the prohibition days? >> guest: i don't know if he did or not. i never ran across any connection. but, of course, old joe -- they were both in the same business, and they were both in the business of importing scotch and very high-grade scotch from across the sea. rothstein gets out of that very quickly though. very, very quickly. they might have also been involved in a wall street speculation. kennedy makes his, one of his fortunes in wall street in the 1920s. rothstein is involved with protecting the crooked bucket shops. bucket shops were a phenomenon of, a pre-crash phenomenon. and, you know, it's one thing to gin up sales with, you know, just churning accounts. but what they would do at bucket shops is they'd say you should buy anaconda copper or something. and it was designed that it was
going to crash. it was going to go down. but they would never buy the stock. and then they would, they would pretend to buy it and then sell it back or just give you part of the proceeds. and rothstein would be involved in protecting these things which were protected, also, by tammany hall, which were protected by tom foley who was the patron of al smith and one of the big ball club owners, horace stoneham's father was a big bucket shop operator. >> host: roger, you had a follow up? >> caller: yes, if i may. i wonder, also, what role did organized crime play in the '60s election? my sense has been they really backed both sides to protect their cuban interests. >> guest: i haven't heard of organized crime being involved with the nixon campaign in any way, shape or form. the kennedy thing, there's a lot of stories about them bringing
money into west virginia which i tend to discount simply because joe kennedy didn't need money. [laughter] he doesn't need 50,000 or $100,000 to pass around. he can figure out ways to do that on his own. but the, there are questions of them being involved in some of the wards in chicago and, of course, there's the question of jack kennedy and the mob leader sharing judith campbell exner as a mistress that year. so there are connections. i'm not sure if all of them are valid. >> host: we are talking with david pietrusza here on booktv on c-span2 in our monthly "in depth" program, and we're going to ask you this question on this e-mail, and then we're going to show some of your favorite books, etc., and the interview we did with you at the
conservative political action committee earlier this year. but this e-mail for you to think about is, in your opinion, can you give us the names of the five worst and five best presidents before jfk in terms of how their directions improved or hurt the nation. and this e-mailer asks before jfk because he or she believes we need time to pass good judgment. so something for you to think about. but here are the covers of david push ya's book. his first books were about baseball. minor miracles in '95. lights on, '97. judge and jury in '01. rothstein in 2003, major leagues came out in 2005, baseball's canadian/american league also in 2005. and in 2007 1920 came out: the
year of six presidents. and then the next election that david push shah wrote about was 1960, lbj v. jfk v. nixon. and last year, harry truman's improbable victory and the year that transformed america. mr. prize shah is also the editor of silent cal's almanac and booktv on c-span2 continues in just a minute. >> we're here at the conservative political action conference talking with david we triewsh shah about his new book, "silent cal's almanac." tell us about it. >> guest: what he did was to come press the wisdom of conservativism and americanism into a few well-chosen words,
primarily talking about something which is significant tothis day, the importance of low marginal tax rates for creating investment, for creating prosperity, for making the american system work for the average american. because when he was in vermont, he saw how his father would go around, collect tax money from people. he realized it came from ordinary people by the sweat of their brow, and it should be collected wisely and no more than was absolutely necessary. taxation, he said, in excess of what was absolutely necessary was theft. >> host: how long did it take you to, essentially, gather all of this home-spun wisdom? >> guest: ah, gee. well, it was not a full-time project. it was something i did in my spare time, collected it over the years, read through all the speeches. oddly enough, his collections -- we would be surprised by this -- but people would buy collections of his speeches in the 1920s. they were issued one after another, they were very popular. so doing the research was fairly easy, and then assembling them
and then publishing them in this book, but also adding introductory essays like why calvin coolidge to people who would be mystified about this topic, and then there were a lot of anecdotes about him which are pretty amusing which people always like to tell. so we threw that in. and also as appendices through his inaugural address so that people could get a full flavor of what the coolidge intellect and powers of persuasion were like. because he rose all the way from be alderman to mayor to state senator to representative, lieutenant governor, governor, vice president, president. he held more elected offices than anyone else in american history. he worked his way up the rung which is the way you're supposed to do it, and you never do it!
>> host: and our live in depth continues with author david pietrusza. mr. pietrusza, you listed robert benchly as one of your favorite authors. who is he? >> guest: yeah. he was a humorist of the '20s, '30s, '40s. you'd see him in movie shorts which, frankly, aren't that funny, but his essays which were written for just about everybody back then and which fill probably about that big a space on my bookshelf are laugh-out-loud funny. you know, you'd sort of get the teacher in the library, why are
you laughing in the library? do you have funny books? so if people say to me your material, your books can be very funny, it's because i have a love for that sort of written humor and one of the other -- i don't know which version i ended up sending, but fran leibowitz, her life on metropolitan life, i met her right after that came out and asked her if she had been influenced by benchly, and she said, no, because that's how she talks. [laughter] but, yeah, just, just i love -- and the books i have on my list are just, you know, the words have to sing on the page. they have to have a certain flow. >> host: well, you also wrote to tonya davis, producer of this program, i also favor the histories of edward wagonknecht. >> guest: yeah. >> host: who is that?
>> guest: he was in business for a long time, from the '20s to maybe the '60s, early '60s, and he did some books on t.r., and he did a book on the first decade, longingish essays on that -- longish essays on that first decade of the 20th century. and he did a book "movies in the age of innocent." and what i liked about him was he was writing about stuff i liked to read about. the seven ages of theodore roosevelt, that was one. he would have this great, meandering kind of style where throwing all kinds of stuff, almost stengel-esque. but yet it all came together in this wealth of information. and being able to husband large amounts of information and still keep it together in a story that moves is something that identify tried to accomplish -- that i've tried to accomplish because otherwise not only would i drive
my readers crazy -- i wouldn't have any readers -- i'd drive myself crazy. >> host: well, we leftff prior to going to that short break asking this e-mail about, in your view, the best and worst presidents before jfk. >> guest: yeah. um, each with the list -- even with the lists of books i was thinking, you know, it reminds -- i feel like one of those guys called to ask to name names. [laughter] like i understand why they didn't want to do that now. so i'm going to give -- i'm not going to answer it. but i will say that i was involved in this huge questionnaire that sienna college puts out on ranking the presidents. it occurred to me as i was -- and it's like, you know, every category for each president five, ten, and it's like -- at the end of the process i had
come to the conclusion that 70-80% of our presidents were below average. which mathematically is impossible. but when you start thinking about it, it's like, my god, we must be a great nation to survive the people we elect. >> host: what about underrated? or a president that you think more attention -- >> guest: well, of course, calvin coolidge, my favorite. and these things change so much. i mean, look at how both truman and eisenhower have come up so much from from, i mean, truman in the '60s, the democrats were hiding him at that convention. he was, like, the crazy uncle in the attic. and eisenhower was dismissed for a hong time as a great -- for a long time as a great mediocrity. and even with the roosevelts in terms of maybe not in ranking, and is by roosevelts i mean three. you would see who was getting the books written about them and
who was the publishing or the public idol, and they would vary. for so long it was franklin, and then, you know, theodore has been so hot for so long. franklin is starting to make a bit of a comeback now thanks to our poor economic times. but these things are so cyclical, it's only like, you know, james buchanan who never comes out of the woods or warren harding. >> host: what role did eleanor roosevelt play in the 1948 election? >> guest: eleanor roosevelt was, you know, the keeper of the flame and did not like harry truman. did not like what had happened to the administration that truman had inherited from her husband. a lot of the new dealers left. not only henry wallace who she had liked a lot and wanted to
keep on the ticket in 1944 -- eventually he sort of wore out his welcome with her -- but her sons were very active in dumping truman. and if you take a look at the statement she makes in support of truman just before the election, they are, shall we say, very tend. >> host: this is booktv on c-span2. david pietrusza, historian and author, is our guest. we'll put the numbers up on the screen as we take this call from bob in raleigh, north carolina. hi, bob. >> caller: hi. david, um, if you could comment on the fact that i think president reagan when he was handling the air flight controllers' strike, didn't he cite the coolidge situation in boston as precedent? >> guest: well, if he didn't, he should have. although coolidge, that's a -- yes, he should have.
because that is really what rallied the public behind coolidge in 1919, helps make him president. both were considered tough decisions. i don't think reagan was completely confident that he would have public backing on that. it's always difficult when you're throwing individuals out of work or punishing them and they can be held up, and you can come up with the sad story of this family, or this person had been a hero at one time. but you're tough to -- you're forced to make a very hard decision on that. coolidge had, after he had made that decision, had helped some of these fellows find jobs in private enterprise. but he was not about to bend what he considered to be an ironclad rule in bringing these people back to positions that they had, in fact, abandoned.
you know, very much like a soldier going off from the front lines. >> host: this tweet from robert craig:the greedy koch brothers call calvin coolidge and warren harding heros because of their tax cut and anti-labor stances. >> guest: well, i can't comment on whether that's the -- if that's an accurate quote from the koch brothers. i suspect that's probably not the case. and, in fact, warren harding is the fellow who when the republicans take over, right soon after he becomes president, they take help bring together an end of steel strike. and the republican, the steel industry they had, like, 12-hour days seven days a week, some crazy shift work. and it was under harding that they go to, like, an eight-hour day or six-day week, things like that which tend to be forgotten.
and you also see -- i was looking at in the -- looking at in the other day. mother jones, one of the founders of the iww, goes to the white house in october 1924 and endorses calvin coolidge. so he was able to reach across the aisle without, you know, throwing his principles overboard. >> host: and there's a photo of mother jones and calvin coolidge -- >> guest: efficiency. [laughter] >> host: warren harding is often ranked as onof the worst presidents. >> guest: yeah. and, um, kind of three things to look at there. um, one, the perm scandals which if we're going to rank presidents based on personal scandals, i don't know if he's the only one who should be held to that standard. but certainly a mess, a mess where he's even being
blackmailed during that 1920 election which as far as i know is unique in presidential annals. and they have to send his former mistress and her husband off to japan until the election is over on a business trip. >> host: who saved those letters? because you quote some of the letters that he wrote. >> guest: i think, i think that comes from the phillips' family. and those letters have an -- >> host: nan phillips. >> guest: yeah. they were originally in the shadow of blooming grove by francis russell, and there were massive lawsuits about what he could print and what he couldn't print and why, you know, there was stuff redacted out. the second part of his, of his presidency is, of course, the scandals of the people around him. albert b. fall with teapot dome, harry doherty who is his commerce or his attorney general and then his campaign manager, and the scandals which i think are the worst and the ones which
are never mentioned are where they loop $2 billion from the veterans -- loot $2 billion from the veterans administration. but he has his accomplishments of the budget bureau, of cutting back spending and getting the country out of a recession or a depression very quickly. >> host: emanuel in boston, thanks for holding. you're on with author david pietrusza. >> caller: thank you. >> host: you've got to turn down the volume on your tv. we're listening. you're on the air. emanuel, i'm going to put you back on hold. they're going to come on, they're going to talk to you about how to turn down the volume on your tv. we're going to go out to craig in las vegas. craig, you're on the air. >> caller: hi. listen, when i was living in south jersey, i guess it was a pbs program that talked about the roosevelt city which was a commune that was set up by fdr?
>> guest: i don't think they were communes, i know there were kind of model cities or communities in maryland, suburban maryland? >> caller: we had one in south jersey. and they recruited people from new york. they were going to make shoes and some other things there. but it didn't work out. for obvious reasons. i was wondering, i guess people had to be recruited into the administration to set these things up, and i was wondering what happened to them after, after roosevelt was out? >> guest: well, i mean, roosevelt used to say if one thing fails, try another. which is if you're an admirer, he's flexible. and if you're not an admirer, he's just sort of flailing around. so you had a number of things which were tried during the depression. i don't know about these, this sounds like fairly low-level
thing. nothing on the scale of the civilian conservation corps. but millions of people went into administering these things, and they'd come and they'd go. something which was also very big at that time, you know, aside from workers', you know, all these public works things were the things which created the city guides which we see still being -- and state guides, histories, which you still see in print today. and also there was a federal theater project which was one of the most controversial things of the entire new deal and really led to a lot of congressional investigations around 1937-'38. >> host: tom farraday e-mails to you, mr. ptrusza, i've read your books about 1920 and 1948 elections, enjoyed them both. my question is, are you going to write a book about the 1968 presidential election? >> guest: good lord. i just -- i keep getting asked that. i was asked that at lunch the other day. i don't know.
the marketplace is a powerful break on the pen of authors. and we shall see if marketplace cooperates on that. but we may end up pushing that one. another one which we've been seriously considering is 1964. which, i think, is interesting beyond the goldwater story which is what a lot of people cover. but also so many of the things which flow out of that. i think the back story to these elections as much as the nuts and bolts of the election and who stopped where and who used what sort of methods of campaigning, what was going on in the country or what was setting stage for so important. >> host: did barry goldwater have a role in the 1960 election? >> guest: yes. in the '60 election, it leads almost directly to '64. barry goldwater gets -- yeah, he
had been criticizing the eisenhower administration with great alacrity, called it a dimestore new deal. wasn't shy about it. seemed to have of more patience for richard nixon than dwight eisenhower. but when eisenhower goes to capitulate, as they said, to nelson rockefeller on the campaign because rockefeller had been vying for the nomination and was causing, making all sorts of noise, goldwater gets all upset, goes to the convention in san francisco and says to the gathering -- because he had been placed in nomination so he could make that speech -- grow up, conservatives, and we can take this party back. and voila, they did four years later. >> host: this e-mail, jim torborg. hi. on baseball, please, discuss the movie "eight men out." it is one of my favorites. did rothstein's men really
threaten lefty williams and his family? >> guest: that's -- i have seen recent -- even though it's in my book in "rothstein," i will reveal that i have seen information now that that did not occur. that that did not occur. so maybeit occurred, maybe it did not occur. keep an open mind about it. in terms of the movie, it seems quite faithful to elliot's book. i had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago, nice man. and i would rank "eight men out" as one of my -- at one point would have ranked it and put it on the list as one of my top five baseball movies. fascinating story and wonderfully written. wonderfulfully written. but having to go into the rothstein book, i started to pick apart all the the, you know, all the little details
sort of playing mystery writer. and the bookended up as a -- book ended up as a finalist for the edgar award for the mystery writers of america which was, like, i've written a mystery? and, in fact, i had. i had solved the mystery of his murder and of the 1919 world series fix where he was involved on not just one end, but two ends. >> host: next call let's go back to emanuel in boston. emanuel, you're on the air. please, start talking. nope, i'm afraid that's not going to work. we tried. bruce in new york city. hi, bruce. >> caller: hi, how you doing? thanks for having me. >> host: good. >> caller: about baseball history, we often talk about integration of baseball on the field. what about the integration in the stadiums? how were black spectators treated both in the north and the south? were they segregated? >> guest: yeah. >> caller: were they, in some
instances less likely to be allowed to buy a ticket? how does that work, and if it was fabricated in some sense of the word -- segregate inside some sense of the world, when did it change? >> guest: that's a good, that's a real good question, and it leads to a meandering on my part. in the south, certainly, they would be segregated and, of course, they were segregated to the extent of having their own leagues, you know? but the only major league grandstand or ballpark where the seating was selling regated -- segregated was in st. louis. now, why is that significant? well, because people say landis is blocking the game. and until he's dead, the game isn't integrated. well, there's two things which precede the death of landis. one is world war ii where are you going to -- what are you going to do in the middle of a war? and, two, ricky, before he's working in brooklyn which is
maybe the most liberal city which you can pull this off on integrating baseball, he's working in st. louis. whh is the most segregated, which is literally segregated in the seats. if there's one place he's not going to do it, it's is st. louis. he has to make that jump to brooklyn. >> host: chris gray about the 1960 election tweets in: amazed that you entirely discount president nixon's long, close friendship with the wanted criminal bebe rebozo. did i effect the '60 election? >> guest: did not seem to, i don't think so. and i'm not even sure, i'm not even sure how close nixon was to rebozo at that point. i'm not sure of the chronology of the events of how close they were at that point. i suspect not. and i don't think, i don't think there was any factor involved. >> host: next call for behaved
pietrusza comes from sew key, illinois. jerry, please, go ahead. >> caller: but it's actually gary, but i won't ask you to spell the last name. well, i want to compliment the man who you're interviewing on his wonderful voice. he could read from the phonebook and make it rollicking. and your voice is fine too. welcome to the voice of juan valdez. i think he should be president, he sounds so bright. especially if he doesn't want to. they say people who are more reluctant would be better than the ones who want it. i got $8.50 an hour, i didn't like it when they threw out magazines. i wonder how many people will have -- what is a letter box movie or what they should do when they call your program? maybe future historians will wonder comparative value of tweets from those from people as well as -- and include a little side note for the rock group. i wonder if it's
counterproductive to have music so loud that causes hearing loss. >> host: jerry, thank you for all those comments, we're going to let them stand. and here is an e-mail for you, mr. pietrusza. please, find out -- are you familiar with the betrayal of arnold rothstein on the television program "boardwalk empire" on hbo, and if so, do you feel it is relatively accurate? >> guest: well -- >> host: were you a consul tan, first of all, on that? >> guest: no. i don't get hbo and, hence, have never seen the series. however, i received an inquiry from the portrayer of rothstein, and they had read the book, and they wanted to discuss how they should go about this. unfortunately, rothstein was unr option to a film producer, and i thought it prudent to
consult with him whether i should be talking with the actor. so i sort of talked to him and said i'd be happy to have lunch with you and discuss anything but arnold rothstein. [laughter] but i think he has consulted -- but i found very little in my research on rothstein which connected him to atlantic city. there was only one thing i really found, it was somewhat tangential about the rum-running operations. >> host: next call here on booktv on c-span2 comes from delane in granada, colorado. please, go ahead. >> caller: good afternoon. i was just calling to see what your take on the teapot dome scandal would be during the harding to coolidge administrations through the oil companies and that scandal? >> guest: yeah. >> caller: and i'll hang up and listen to you, thank you.
>> guest: well, teapot dome is, basically, the handy work of the secretary of the interior, albert w. fall. he controls the secretary of the navy. we talk about the strategic petroleum oil reserves, and this is what this is about. it's private oil companies tapping these. so the navy had them and albert b. fall, you know, run into the secretary of the navy and says, hey, i need these. and it's like, okay. he doesn't know what he's doing. he's not a crook, but he doesn't know what he's doing. fall turns these over at bargain basement rates to a couple of oil companies. they're in wyoming, they're in california, and he is given -- they track it down, basically, from a herd of cattle. there's a herd of cattle which mysteriously appears at his ranch from new jersey. and also there are denials. it's a very complex story, lies, and the money is laundered to, i think, the publisher of one of
the washington papers, i think "the washington post," actually. so it unravels. this is -- it's difficult to know what harding knew about this, whether he knew this was one of the scandals that was a problem and which weighed his mind down and caused him to die. this all gets dumped in coolidge's lap. he had nothing to do with it, when he becomes president. and one of the things he does is, basically, simply get out of the way and let the justice system take its course. not -- on this issue and also on the issue of the investigation of attorney general doherty. the congress wants papers from the attorney general. does this sound familiar? and coolidge, who is very wary of upsetting what he had inherited from harding before he took office in his own right, watches this go on for a while and then finally in march 1924
says, look, they're asking for papers, you're not an honest broker in turning these things over. your focus of this -- if you're not going to cooperate, i must respectfully ask for your resignation. and he gets it. >> host: in the 2012lection, are you seeing any similarities to past elections? >> guest: oh, there always are, and there's always differences. in regard to baseball, i would always say in regards to all things being equal, all things are never equal. but some of them do remind you, and certainly in 2012 you think a lot about 1948 because you think of the congress flipping so much in 1946 as it did in 2010. you think of a president who starts out, you know, truman started out at 87% approval rating. we won the war, right after that dropped the bomb, things were
okay. and then it goes down. and dewey and romney have a certain similarity of, oh, background in terms of being eastern governors and blandness, quite frankly. >> host: um, this tweet has come in, peter wesley. mr. pietrusza, was coolidge a vain man? he was the only president of the united states to have his face on a u.s. coin during his presidency. >> guest: that is a true fact. that he is the only living president. it was a sesquicentennial of, you know, it was one of those things that, you know, washington and coolidge on the same thing. i'm not quite sure what role he had in picking that out. he did say it is a good thing for our presidents to know they are not great men or for people
to know that. and i think he had a understanding of his limitations, certainly the limitations of power, federal power, presidential power, but also, you know, when he went out to the badlands and he'd put a head dress on he put a big cowboy outfit on. and, you know, one of his advisers said, mr. president, people are laughing at you. and he said, well, sometimes it's good for people to laugh. now, a guy who says that can't be all stu up on himself. of course, he was also decided he wasn't going to run for another term. so being on the way out of office sometimes is a good thing. gls and if you would like to e-mail or tweet to our booktv program with david pietrusza, e-mail and our twitter handle is @booktv. worcester, massachusetts. manning, you're on the air.
>> caller: yes, sir. >> host: we're listening. >> caller: i, having been born in the middle '20s, the '48 election was the first one that i was able to vote in. and when it came to the polls, i was, obviously, very aware of what "the chicago tribune" had done and came up with dewey having won. but there was also the literary digest, and their poll also came up with dewey. but the problem they had was the sample that they had actually worked on was one of making telephone calls. and many people did not have telephones and, therefore, they got a sample that was not exactly the kind of sample that one needs. and after that election the literary digest just folded up and never existed again. >> guest: well, that leads into how polls are being done today and whether you're calling people at home, you know, all the young folks don't have land
lines, they have cell phones, and are we going to be measuring opinion that way? also, are we going to be measuring, you know, people on the street, people just living and breathing, walking around? are they registered voters? are they likely voters? all those are -- what is the nature of the sample? is it balancessed republican/democrat at the right point in time? but the main thing about your question is right pew, wrong church. and the lit prayer digest was -- literary digest was no t the '48 election, it was the 1936 election, roosevelt v. landon. what you said was absolutely true, they were polling by telephone, they were spectacularly wrong, and they were well out of business by the 1948. >> host: what were the final polls in 1960 saying? >> guest: oh. that's where the people pretty much get it right. except for the private pollers in wisconsin get it wrong. and what causes him to campaign
in the wrong areas and throw the results off is that they -- nail biter, all the way through. all the way through, all the way through is the neck and neck from start to finish. >> host: you quote charles kuralt in your book, "1960." i have believed that the outcome of that election might have been different had nixon been able to put his feetp at the end of the day and relax with reporters, explaining his positions over a glass of scotch and a cigar. but he was not the drinking, smoking, explaining sort or the relaxing sort either. i think it cost him the presidency in 1960. >> guest: when you have an election that close, any factor can be put into that slot. you know, the black vote, the southern vote, the -- whether he goes to too many states or not enough states, if he's tired in that first debate. but, yeah, i mean, certainly his relationship with the press, i mean, nixon himself might have
agreed with that. because he sort of agreed with it in not so many words, but in different words which were you won't have richard nixon to kick around anymore. >> host: needleland, texas. hi, robert. >> caller: hi. is it true that a mobster once said of truman, we bought him, but he didn't stay bought? >> guest: no. that doesn't sound familiar to he be at all. but -- no, doesn't sound familiar. >> host: well, what about his kansas city, for those who don't know kansas city -- >> guest: oh, now, there, there you're getting into the neighborhood though. and there were mobsters involve inside kansas city. involved in kansas city. he starts out as a small town farmer. you know, haberdasher ri and all this. the machine, tom pender gas machine, puts him up for office in 1922. he's elected from the rural areas. he's from the farm areas,
lifelong democratic family involved in the masons, involved in the fraternal organizations, in the veterans' organizations. all the boys go over as a bunch out to the trenches in world war i. but this is a, he's running the county after a while as the head of the county legislature, government. but he's taking orders from the boss, and they are skimming off millions. and this is something which he's, he's wrestling with. am i doing the right thing? i let them take this, i didn't want take it for myself. am i an honest man, or am i a crook? he writes this down himself. he's wrestling with his conscious. and gangsters in before he wins for the senate in 1932 there's a big rubout in union station in kansas city of the machine-related gangster, johnny lanza, i think his name is. >> host: joe beatty from los angeles e-mails in to you,
mr. pietrusza: why do you like louise brooks? in addition, what are your favorite historical movies? you listed louise -- >> guest: yeah. it was a favorite book. and that was because of the style of her writing and also it's such a surprise. it's such a surprise because here's this, basically, failed actress, and her book which is very n a way, very similar or her story to pat jordan's "a false spring" which is about baseball and a young guy who really has all the chances in the world given to him. and through sheer jerkiness runs themself out of a job. or maybe not a good curveball in his case, but louise brooks was beautiful and makes a lot of mistakes. and it's a tragedy. you know, the frank sinatra song, "i did it my way," she did
it her way. it lasted for a while because she was young and beautiful but did not serve her well in the long run. but in the long run, sometimes there are second acts in life. maybe you are a roy hobbs in many different ways. and by god, in her old age out of no training whatsoever, boy, she could write a sentence. >> host: rich lives in leland, mississippi, and, rich, you're on booktv on c-span2 with david produce shah. go ahead. >> caller: i'm here. >> host: yep. >> caller: i'm right outside of greenville, mississippi, where a lot of authors are from, but i'm originally from wisconsin, and i remember the election in 1960 although i was very young. but what i'm -- i was over in the library studying in a book about fascism. and most americans really don't
understand what a fascist really is, i think. and after i read that book, i, you know, i think a lot of republicans -- maybe all of them -- are really fascists. and i know that's a radical statement, but i'd like your comment on that. >> guest: fascism is, well, fascism -- jonah goldberg has some really interesting thoughts on what constitutes fascism. and fascism is, is something which aside from authoritarianism is a cult of action, of really -- so temperamentally it's almost like a youth thing. kind of like occupy wall street where they don't even know what the goals are, but we're going to act, we're going to act now. temperamentally, let alo ideologically, the republican
party really doesn't fit into that mold. henderson, nevada. hi, ernie. >> caller: hi. i've been reading a book by a william luten berg about franklin delano roosevelt and the new deal? >> guest: yes, right. >> caller: and i'm struck by the parallels in particular around the second hyundais and up through -- hundred days and up through 1935 where the supreme court was making 5-4 decisions, and it included a justice named roberts. owen roberts. >> guest: owen roberts, yes. >> caller: yes. and how there's precedent really where these 5-4 decisions were made at a time when our nation was going through very similar patterns that we're now experiencing. and i just wonder if you could comment on that. >> guest: the supreme court -- you know, that's the big supreme court fight, the court-packing fight of, like, 1937 after
roosevelt wins the big land slideslide so misprotected by literary digest. and he decided he's not going to deal with this court anymore. and they say, there was an old saying that the court decisions follow the election returns. so that to, again, protect the integrity of the court you start seeing key votes on the court, start to flip so that they allow new deal programs which they had previously been knocking out like the nra, national recovery administration. and then you see retirements. you see retirements where roosevelt doesn't get to pack the court by dint or inflation of numbers, but simply by making new appointments. >> host: david pietrusza, do you write full time? >> guest: yes. >> host: any teaching? >> guest: no, no. every so often i'll give a talk or something like that, but no
teaching. i tried to -- my original goal was to teach, and the guidance counselor kind of called me in, and i was thinking about the doctorate. and it was, like, and where do you propose to work after this? which was a mind-chilling statement. so we took the day job after that. ..
>> you know what avenues you will be pursuing. then there are months and months and months of sheer research grade at the end of that, at some point you say i have not written a darn word. what have i been doing? that you have been building some 27 foot-high platform of granite foundation from which to work. and then it becomes come at some point, it all flows. in terms of archives and such, there is no fixed method of where you go. it is where it takes you and things. after a while, the material takes you. so much is now available, electronically, it has really changed the game. it has also given you too much information. again you know that you have to
start cutting sit down. >> host: for any viewers that were not listening earlier, what is your next book? >> guest: i am working on coolidge, a documentary history. which is coming around the bend. beyond that come in terms of the next historical or electrical history, not as a beginner. >> host: bolivian electoral history or presidential history. >> guest: it may or may not be. and another thing, which i have up there come is actually it is out there being shot, i have also written a novel. we are going off at about, literally,hree directions at once. >> host: a historical novel? >> not apolitical. it started off as something from a sports background.
this is something that has been percolating about. it is kind of like a shawshank redemption with sports. >> host: please go ahead for your comment or question for other david pietrusza. >> caller: i would like to ask about the election in 1960, do you think that jfk's health problems would have prevented him from running in 1964? thank you. >> guest: i don't know that kennedy gets a kind that kind of shot -- i think that lyndon johnson is the senate majority leader. now, let's give it to the man. and i don't think he gets it. i don't think it is so much a question of his health problems, although, his dabble in drugs
,-com,-com ma it could have caused some deterioration. he had a shot, he blew it. one of the things about the election is that the country was still in the new deal. a new deal country. he darn near dozen. kennedy should've won by more about the money didn't come in when he didn't, the party i don't think we'll give him a chance because they had jt come and that was stevenson. that hadn't worked and 56. >> host: was there eisenhower 50 in 1956. >> guest: yes, i think there was. not of eisenhower personally, he probably could have had a third term. i think he was so popular.
and that is one of those unintended consequences. republicans passing a constitutional amendment to keep fdr from being president again. and they keep eisenhower for being president. there is the get america moving thing. the excitement is gone. they said yeah, right, it is as phony as possible. we were in fact doing very well. that we havethe feeling that we should have been doing more, and jack kennedy conveyed that very well. >> host: paul in richmond, virginia e-mailed me, and he would like to ask what general macarthur had on the 48 election, and if there is any truth to the theory that trumans later firing of the general was based more on his personal animosity towards macarthur, but many fear he represented some sort of threat to civilian
control. >> guest: macarthur is, there are four candidates on the gop side. basically. when macarthur's campaign collapses, he has always been controversial, from the 1932 burning of the marchers out there, even as a soldier, some people didn't like the style, other people did -- it is tough to run when you are ruling japan across the ocean, and also any heavy very advanced age, your 73 years old coming your getting used older candidates now. back then, life expectancy was
less. truman could be very prickly, so personal animosity could have played a role in that. how much, i would hesitate to say. >> host: next call to david pietrusza comes from portland, oregon. >> caller: hello, how are you. my question is, i really don't think it is an indisputable fact, but over the years, we have seen come and the republicans have very openly thought about the deification of reagan. my naming some airports after him, so many buildings after him, i don't think reagan was a horrible man, but they had put him on a pedestal. witness how many times he was referred to by so many candidates running. my question to the author is is there any historical precedents
for a party or movement after the death of a president? going back, and in a sense, even rewriting history of his presidency when necessary. to create this almost godlike figure in their eyes. >> guest: i think it happens all the time. it wouldn't have happened to washington the federalist, it will look at that 1948 convention look at some of the things that have happened or if you have a jefferson jackson day dinner. they are still out there waiting the flag for jefferson hundred a hundred and some years later. lincoln is just so popular after the civil war, and to this day, teddy roosevelt, yes very big. woodrow wilson, one of those big popular leaders at the time
rated haile by historians, dominating figures, kind of misses that because things are just so controversial within the number of issues. franklin roosevelt falls into that category. and certainly jack kennedy in philadelphia, all the way to the museum. jfk boulevard's all over the place. >> host: david pietrusza, in your book "1920: the year of the six presidents", how did woodrow wilson find out about theodore roosevelt's death in what was his reaction? >> he had gone to europe to negotiate the peace treaty firsthand. and before it all starts come he kind of makes the grand tour in france, italy and it is still wildly popular. he is the savior of the world. and he hears about it in italy.
and he is just happy about it. he is really truly happy about it. which shows something about his character. he was not a big man about these things. so many of the interpersonal relationships, he turns on people that were then allies. >> host: from louisiana, we have chance. please go ahead with your question or comment. >> guest: i would like to know if you have an opinion of the process that we use now to get presidential candidates, compared to 40 or 45 years ago cause so many people nowadays that i have spoken to, feel like we have never had anyone to vote for, only to vote against someone in the party. >> guest: i think we have about a long history of voting against somebody or another.
but yeah, it is a different process, it is a different process as we touched on before but there are so many primaries in so many primaries translating into so much money to spend. also, it translates into these guys is getting exhausted. you took a look at romney or even gingrich if you end of that process. and they just look completely winded i had the pleasure of conducted in a series of interviews to explain this process to them. what we take for granted is so foreign to them that the next president of the united states is forced to go to some little general store in new hampshire. the fact that it is so fragmented, 16 votes here, 47
roads here, this convention, it is a great mishmash, but it is also a reflection of our whole federal system. which is that diffusion of power. house, senate, congress, states, courts, that is kind of how the thing is set up. if you want to go to something else, you're going to end up going a lot to back rooms. a vestige of the back rooms is these so-called superdelegates. >> host: in 2007, david pietrusza published "1920: the year of the six presidents." again, who are the six presidents involved in that election? >> guest: in order of them holding office, theodore roosevelt, woodrow wilson, warren harding, calvin coolidge, herbert hoover, and think when eleanor roosevelt. >> host: hour each of them involved?
>> guest: tr dies in his sleep, january 1919. warren harding is a senator from ohio, newspaper editor. kind of a state republican, wins the nomination of the course. kevin coolidge, calvin coolidge, a favorite son candidate. the 1920 convention stampede. nixon vice president. he becomes president when harding dies. i skipped over woodrow wilson, deny? woodrow wilson, president of the united states, and invalid. think you can stampede the convention in san francisco since his secretary of state could do that. kaj: >> host: so we didn't stand a chance. >> guest: some basic functions, something together.
herbert hoover was a great engineer, secretary of commerce. he is elected and 28. think when roosevelt, democrat. secretary of state. i'm sorry, secretary of the navy under wilson. vice presidential candidate that year. >> host: when did the convention stop mattering, or do they matter? >> guest: boy, you know, we have common -- you know, they do matter but -- four years ago, you know, it was almost down to the wire. it was hillary. they were counting the vote after vote. in 1976, reagan and ford, there was still that backroom thing going on. i could tell you some personal tales. pressure being put on people on what i knew, and who ended up
saying, oh, have to visit my stepdaughter in south carolina. >> host: greg from massachusetts. go ahead. >> caller: you flash a picture and it looked like his two sons. i perused some old newspapers and i came across a count of the death of his son. you know, i would like you to comment on that incident and how it impacted his presidency. if it did, and i will listen. >> guest: we are coming up on the anniversary. the older son was john coolidge, who actually kn a little bit, interviewed him at his home in plymouth notch. the younger son was calvin, junior. they are playing tennis on the white house tennis court. maybe exactly ju 1 or july 2. right around this time frame, a
blister develops on calvin's foot. it rapidly becomes an infection. they bring doctors down from philadelphia it is a horrifying event. there is like a glass -- a glass bowl, blowing up, intravenously is this child is dying. and the glasses falling into calvin coolidge's face. and coolidge is dam near hysterical. he is hysterical at the death of his son. it was terrible. coidge was suffering from depression after this. it affected him. coolidge said the joy when out of the presidency after that, as
well it should. every time i look out that window and see that tennis court, i see my boy out there. so it was a terrible thing. but also, coolidge, he does what he wishes to do on his agenda. and he is a lame duck for a remarkable period of time. he is not running, he announces, the time he leaves office. >> host: david pietrusza is an author and historian. he is our guest this month on book tv is "in depth" program. bob from laguna woods, california, you are on the air. >> caller: hello, how are you doing? david, you might want to modify your response on the previous comment, that he made on republican party and fascism. the original modern-day fascists say that fascism should be called corporatism.
the merger of a corporation and government power. and that was set by the infamous bonito mussolini. in the 1920s. the republican party, i think, today, they are a corporate power and government power. together. any comment? >> guest: we see corporations from both sides, working both sides of the aisle, as well as they well. if not to further their own interests directly to keep government from coming down on them, and what we have seen recent administrations have come under the obama administration with the bailout of certain industries, the takeouts certain
industries, not necessarily socializing something, but becoming partners with gm or chrysler or with the health care situation. were you could point to certain things with the pharmaceuticals, the pharmaceutical industry was in favor of certain things about certain other things require no co-pays or require that generics shall not be used. this tends to favor the industry. you have partnerships come you have partnerships with ethanol and at or whatever. and so he you can point the finger to a bunch of parties. i think that the pure forms of the republican party are pure conservatism, and they have a tendency to stay away from that. >> host: david pietrusza, in the 1920 election, was the corporate interest of randolph hearst involved?
>> guest: they are such dabblers in politics. william hearst is a radical figure, a radical democrat. he then becomes quite conservator later in his career than supportive of coolidge. >> host: why is that? >> guest: i'm not quite sure. i think that people, as they get older i'm a change their opinions and move from left to right. in 1920 he is stll a democrat and a 1932, he is still a democrat. it is at the urging that kennedy's father, joe, who helped roosevelt to get the nomination. henry ford is again a democrat. he ran for the united states senator -- china, got cheated out of his seat, but he had been
a good advocate during world war i, and was the premier guy in the country publishing the dearborn independent. in the elders of zion, and the international jew. >> host: did he tend to support third-party candidates or supportive of the democratic ticket? >> guest: he would not go off on his own. he would not go off on his own. i think he was a democrat. it had something to do the republicans in the new deal. there was a poll in 1922 or 23. the choice of the american people -- number one was henry ford. this was after all the anti-somatic stat. ann harding was well below that.
besides knowing that they were coming and the republicans had taken a big state in the midterms. >> host: what was the effect of the socialist party in the 1920s. >> guest: they can drive five, six, seven, eight, 9% of the vote. for long periods of time they tended to do better in bloggers. when it's going to be a blowout, doesn't matter who you vote for. once closer, they said oh, dispensing guy -- he's in jail, he's an influence come he gets 900,000 votes that year. there is a remarkable total. woodw wilson basically, his
administration put him in jail, again, don't look necessarily for the straight, left right line 100 years ago or 80 years ago. a democrat wilson puts them in jail, ended its harding, who is a very kindly man. that is one thing everyone would say about them. personally, really nice guy. but he he gets out of jail, and he says i think your get out of jail for christmas. he says this about the stuff by the white house and i want to say hello to you when you get out of jail. >> host: did he have, harding, did he have good relations with the congress? >> guest: no, actually, because the senate is so fractured between progressive and what you call conservative wings of the congress and particularly the senate, which he did come out of it.
you have [inaudible name] and george morris, there is a big midwestern populist wing. and they are just, they are wildly in there -- just going third-party 1924. >> host: next call for david pietrusza comes from jan in wilmington, north carolina. you are on the air. >> caller: thank you very much for having me on. i have a two-part question. the first is you are talking about archives. what is the future for historians now that everyone is on the computer and all paperwork in on phones where you can get your hands on a lot of it. the second part is how do they that the candidates versus the way they don't vet or do that now with television and radio. questions to ask and not ask. has it changed and how did they choose the candidate for
president. >> guest: i think opening up things, it's great. it's great for people. the person can do it on their own. it is good to have these things not quite filtered. is it all laid out in a neat package with a ribbon on it? oh, it is not. and it never will be. you have to go through, and maybe more so there is, you go through more and more and more and you have more and you have the vet, you have to get that information, which is question number two. which is how do they vet that. just as they vet now, it is often a hit and miss process with warren harding. the story goes that george harvey who is putting together a group of senators -- there's a harding, it's you, we're going
to you, and is there anything in your background that would keep you from being president? harding is like, -- and it takes 10 minutes to to answer. that should have been their first cause for alarm because there were all those women in trouble, but there were those. nothing of personal corruption. there were those. that nonfarm harding during his presidency. >> host: this e-mail from michael. do you think charles evans hughes would've made a good president? he was an amazingly capable individual. >> guest: he was a capable individual, i was on c-span talking about it. we will be on tonight on american history tv, they are re-airing that. >> host: that is right yes mackey is amazingly capable as an individual. he might've been more liberal or
progressive. under harding, even though he served under both the secretary of state, he was a fairly conservative chief justice of the supreme court. but not entirely. so you can't totally pigeonhole him. his revocation of governor -- reputation of governor of new york, he starts out by busting trusts or the insurance industry. >> host: how well did thomas do we know earl warren before the 1948 election, and why was earl warren concerned? >> guest: the question is how well did earl warren know tom dewey? and i -- i think he liked them a lot. they had these governor conferences. they met them up so that they actually knew each other.
and one of the dewey was a darn fool. just shut up and, oh, i don't like him. do we, however, look to this fellow, this progressive fellow, he is not like a reaionary like john brickner, who he does take in 1944. he is from california. he can bring both in. it was actually dewey in 1944, and duly turned them down. do he says -- one thinks that if he has any future in the party, that are not turned on again. maybe he was thinking of the supreme court, i'm not sure what he was thinking. but he takes it. they don't like each other. the campaigns don't match, and they don't meshed so much that either one or one swipe end up in a voting booth in november november 1948 going down the lever for harry truman. >> host: there is a tweet for david pietrusza. i find it silly to limit
presidents to two terms while congress is unfettered any chance to go back. >> guest: i don't think there is a chance, because there is not a huge constituency for it. maybe none. certainly no constituency among the senators who want to succeed, so i think that -- i don't think that's going to happen. plus it is very hard to amend the constitution and it seems to be getting harder and harder. >> host: next call to david pietrusza prig of about 15 minutes left in this month's "in depth" program. john, it port st. lucie, florida. >> caller: you mentioned you have some knowledge of the 1976 reagan convention where he lost against ford. was he the first to actually have a vice presidential candidate -- and you happen to
know who else in 1980, who else besides bush was considered for the vice presidency. i always felt that reagan's biggest mistake was bush, and i wish that he had picked someone else. >> guest: well, in 1976, i think there is a really crazy thing where people were picked, like around 1840 or two years before the election -- they would pick the vice presidency. in the modern era, writing picking of richard schweikert to peel off some of the votes from pennsylvania, which did not work was really the first i remember being at a meeting that day of folks, as that was announced. in the chagrin that burst forth. it was not a real game changer. in terms of 1980 and picking
bush, welcome if you aren't happy with bush, he would not have been happy with the fellow that was discussedat more length at that point, gerald ford. there was a discussion of quite a bit of a reagan and ford ticket. but ford was basically asking not to be vice president again. which is understandable. but to be copresident, maybe senior copresident, you can understand why ronald reagan would not be crazy about that. >> host: dave tweets in, have you read the wikipedia article on arnold rothstein? would you change anything? >> guest: i imagine at some point, but i can't think of anything offhand. my memory of it would be, minimal at this point. >> host: richard from vermont e-mails into you. in his book, the case against the fed, economist murray rothbard is less than flattering
of president coolidge and has interaction with the federal reserve bank. what are your understandings and or impressions of the coolidge presidency regarding federal reserve actions and policies? >> guest: rothstein is often not in favor of anyone. [laughter] [talkingver each other] >> guest: there's a great divide between conservatives and libertarian. i do know that there was some issue as to whether reagan should have had a little more control over the federal reserve, and in that case, rothbard.
unless they had completely messed up, he would ask for them -- they would ask for their head. up until that point, he was kind enough to let them have their head. >> host: marine from san rafael, california, yuan with david pietrusza. >>aller: good morning for the day. my question is about the provenance baseball team in providence, rhode island. do you have any history could talk about as this version history of that team. 1898 through 1902, i know from postcards, there was not a lot from one of the players sent. >> guest: why your personal interest in this? >> caller: i had a great uncle who was a player and he wrote my great aunt and he was from the
providence braves. that is all i know about him. there is a picture of him in a baseball outfit. >> guest: back when i was president of american baseball research, never pretended to know everything about research. there is a rhode island chapter of the society for american baseball research. if you go online, find out how to contact them, and i'm sure they have something for you. >> host: did you grow up in canada? >> guest: no, no. i did a history of baseball's canadian american league, and most of the teams were actually in new york state.
>> host: what he think there is only one canadian team in the major leagues? >> guest: oh, you have a limited number of cities of a certain population of growth. montréal started off -- boy, if you ever go to a game at the olympic stadium, what a tomb. there is no air in it. there is no excitement. and then you go out to the concession stand and everyone would be standing there, watching the hockey game on tv. literally. >> host: sonoma, california. hello, carol. >> caller: thank you so much for this program. i grew up in san francisco. and i remember when jack kennedy was running for president. the basis of all conversation was he will be the first catholic. i remember that.
all the time. now that romney is in the running, i don't hear word about how he will be the first momon. it seems to me that mormonism has many more factors of a cold than catholicism. i was wondering what you think about that. i don't hear one word about that. i will take your answer. >> guest: i think that is being discussed. i don't think it is -- i think these things are often not so much discussed in the open, and they are kind of discussed in whispers and maybe in shouts and certain quarters. the irony of kennedy being elected. johnson vindicates the majority leader of the senate, that goes to mike mansfield. the speaker of the house dies from john mccormick to come
speaker of the house and he is a catholic. then you have the president come speaker of the house, and the majority leader of the senate. all catholics, nobody notices. >> host: did martin luther king have a role in the 1960 election? >> guest: sure. >> host: how well-known of the figure was he at that point in time. >> guest: fairly reasonably well-known. and i think more than reasonably known in the black community, which is really where it counts in terms of the election story. he gets arrested on a traffic violation an he manages to attend this event, which violates his parole. they say that you're going to the prison camp, which is a real bad place. his wife gets all worried. jack kennedy put in a call through coretta scott king, saying that we have to do something about this. and it becomes a factor in swaying the black vote and they
put up millions of pieces of literature and a lot of radio advertising in the north that do that as well. >> host: the next call comes from memphis, tennessee. go ahead, rachel. >> caller: personal, i'm very nervous. second of all -- >> guest: you want to be your. >> caller: my favorite president is truman. i'm 54 years old now. truman had what i would say integrity. every aspect of it. which obama had. and i think that confuses people today. you have a president that has absolute integrity, all of it, not just a portion of it -- every aspect of a?
and i equate the way this campaign is going today as the campaign of 1948. romney is the dewey and he says nothing looks pretty like the man on the wedding cake. >> guest: the comparison of do we and romney, i think, is very apt. the question is also how is obama a truman figure. has he been through enough adversity before an election to pull this off. also, the circumstances with the country are very different here you have a .3 or 8.1 unemployment. you have two or 3% unemployment with truman. you had an problem with inflation that year. you had a nation still at peace here, still trying to figure out
everything -- you have massive differences, i think, in the election. dynamics. stay tuned. >> host: paul nor wine tweets in, do you think charlie halleck would've made it better vice president for dewey or eisenhower? was he stabbed in the back by dewey? first of all, who was charlie halleck. >> guest: he was the majority leader of the house of representatives. he was from indiana where he took the seat after the death of his younger brother. that was one of the big humps.
one delivered nothing. we are sort of standing come also the weakness of dewey's campaign in the midwest and halleck would've stood out somewhat more. >> host: at last call comes from canaan, new hampshire. >> caller: i have a question about the 1960 election. somewhat related to 1960 campaign come i would like to ask, do you know where i might have defined any photographs in west virginia? i think i might appear in actual pictures. >> guest: usually the old newspaper files or historical society would work. to switch from parties, even if you are a billionaire, to take it over is very hard.
they just don't want the newcomers coming in. i also think he was the original rockefeller republican. i don't think he could've made the switch, and i don't think it would have been a comfortable match. >> host: an e-mail from bob of illinois. he says good book written on the history of [inaudible] >> guest: i'm not sure. i know there are some books. i'm not sure which one would be the best. >> host: is the teapot dome a major scandal? guess oh, yes. the secretary goes to jail and he is the first one. it is a major scandal. and it also -- william gibbs mcadoo i talked about, he just was implicated in an unfair way. that helps derail his chances in 1924. so it has implications for both parties.
>> host: we have another e-mail that asked to comment on ross perot's legacy. >> guest: i'm not sure he has one. the ideology wasn't firmly fixed. he reformed the third party, which is still very influential. otherwise, i think not. i think not. but he did talk about things which we are still talking about. talking about deficits and trading balances and the loss of manufacturing. the giant sucking sound. based on him, i'm not sure. for the past three hours we have been talking with david pietrusza. here are his books. minor polls, minor league baseball. it came out in 1995. lights on, the wild century long saga of baseball came out in 1997. judge and jury, the light of
judge kennesaw. the light lifetime of rock scene who fixed the 1919 world series. 2003, major league. it came out in 2005. baseball's canadian american league. also came out that year. in 1920, his first book, i'm sorry -- 2007, the book is "1920: the year of the six presidents." "1960: lbj vs. jfk vs. nixon: the epic campaign that forged three presidencies" came out in 2008. in his most recent "1948: harry truman's improbablvictory and the year that transformed america." he has cowrote a book on ted williams and he edited "silent cal's almanack." mr. david pietrusza, thank you for being on booktv. thank you for joining us. that will wrap up our program. book tv continues. ..